Educational theories

How do you decide the level at which to instruct your students? This means the skills that are just a little bit beyond their reach. When you are working with a small reading group, don't pick books that kids can read perfectly. Pick ones that are just a little bit challenging, that students will need some support to read. Eventually a student's ZPD bumps up higher because they have mastered the skills you were supporting them with. Scaffolding is not a term that Vygotsky actually used but it's a concept that developed based on his work.

When you scaffold a student, you give them support to complete a task that they can't quite do on their own. For example, at first, students need to be walked through every step of long division. Gradually the scaffolding can be reduced.

educational theories

Maybe they just need a couple of reminders at tricky spots. Eventually the scaffolding can be removed because the student can complete the task on their own. Piaget was a constructivist which means he believed that kids learn by manipulating, modifying, and otherwise working with concepts. They construct their own learning rather than just being told something. Piaget worked with the idea that the things people know are organized into schemas.

When a child learns something new, they either assimilate it into an existing schema, change their schema, or develop a new schema. Do you activate background knowledge before a lesson? You're helping students tap into their existing schema!

When I taught second grade and my class was on the wrong track, I would look for the one kid doing the right thing and say, "Wow, I love how Jesse is standing with his hands to his side and his voice turned off.

This is the heart of behaviorism. It's the idea that praise and rewards positively reinforce a behavior and encourage kids to continue with it. Punishments discourage students from a behavior. Beyond following rules, there are learning actions we can reinforce. If you display quality student work, praise students for using strategies, let students publish on cool paper when they have their writing perfect, etc.

If you have decent curriculum to use, you've probably seen Bruner's idea of spiral curriculum at work. Elementary students can't design roads and bridges but they can begin to learn about the physics of how the slope of a ramp effects the speed of a ball rolling down that ramp.

Each year they can revsit and build on their previous learning. You may have heard of Bloom's Taxonomy. It's a hierarchy of intellectual behaviors. The lowest level is remembering facts. The highest level is using your knowledge to create something new. With the new Common Core standards we've heard a lot about increasing rigor for our students. One way to do this is to make sure we're involving our students in higher order thinking activities at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy, not just in memorizing facts.

Gardner found that people have more than one way of processing information and that a typical IQ score doesn't completely measure intelligence. He created the theory of Multiple Intelligences. In the classroom we can engage multiple intelligences by singing educational songs, allowing students to work through concepts verbally, through art, through writing, with partners, and through movement.There are many different theories regarding the way people learn.

Educational Psychologists, Theorists, Researchers, and Authors

This section will very briefly explore some of them in alphabetical orderwhich you might like to research further and try out with your own learners. The posting below is a nice summary of various learning theories. Published by Sage Publishing Company. Copyright by Ann Gravells and Susan Simpson. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. What works with one group or individual learner might not work with another. You might find at first you are teaching the way you were taught at school, college or university.

It might have suited you at the time, or it might have had a detrimental effect. Behaviorism assumes a learner is essentially passive, and will be shaped through positive or negative reinforcement. Learning is therefore defined as a change in behavior. Skinner believed that behavior is a function of its consequences, i. The behavior should not be repeated if negative feedback is given. Giving immediate feedback, whether positive or negative, should enable your learners to behave in a certain way.

Cognitivism focuses on what happens in the mind such as thinking and problem-solving. New knowledge is built upon prior knowledge and learners need active participation in order to learn. Cognitivism uses the metaphor of the mind as a computer: information comes in, is processed, and learning takes place.

Constructivism is about learning being an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. The learner brings past experiences and cultural factors to a current situation and each person has a different interpretation and construction of the knowledge process.

It asserts three major themes. Social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. The MKO refers to anyone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is normally the teacher, or an older adult, but the MKO could also be a peer, a younger person, or even information from the internet.

According to Vygotzky, learning occurs in this zone. Experiential learning is about the learner experiencing things for themselves and learning from them.

Kolb proposed a four stage model known as the experiential learning cycle. It is a way by which people can understand their experiences and, as a result, modify their behavior.

It is based on the idea that the more often a learner reflects on a task, the more often they have the opportunity to modify and refine their efforts. The process of learning can begin at any stage and is continuous, i. This theory suggests that without reflection, people would continue to repeat their mistakes. This is the doing stage. Your values, attitudes and beliefs can influence your thinking at this stage.

This is the stage of thinking about what you have done. This is the stage of planning how you will do it differently.

This is the redoing stage based upon experience and reflection. Humanism is an approach that believes learning is seen as a personal act to fulfill potential. Humanists believe that it is necessary to study a person as a whole, particularly as they grow and develop over their lifetime.So what are educational learning theories and how can we use them in our teaching practice? There are so many out there, how do we know which are still relevant and which will work for our classes?

In this article you will find a breakdown of each one and an explanation of the 15 most influential learning theories; from Vygotsky to Piaget and Bloom to Maslow and Bruner. By Paul Stevens-Fulbrook. Since Plato, many theorists have emerged, all with their different take on how students learn. Learning theories are a set of principles that explain how best a student can acquire, retain and recall new information.

Despite the fact there are so many educational theorists, there are three labels that they all fall under. BehaviourismCognitivism and Constructivism. Behaviourism is based on the idea that knowledge is independent and on the exterior of the learner. Through this interaction, new associations are made and thus learning occurs.

Learning is achieved when the provided stimulus changes behaviour. A non-educational example of this is the work done by Pavlov. The dog associated the bell ring with being provided with food so any time a bell was rung the dog started salivating, it had learnt that the noise was a precursor to being fed. I use a similar approach to classroom management. Behaviourism involves repeated actions, verbal reinforcement and incentives to take part. It is great for establishing rules, especially for behaviour management.

In contrast to behaviourism, cognitivism focuses on the idea that students process information they receive rather than just responding to a stimulus, as with behaviourism. There is still a behaviour change evident, but this is in response to thinking and processing information. Cognitive theories were developed in the early s in Germany from Gestalt psychology by Wolfgang Kohler. In English, Gestalt roughly translates to the organisation of something as a whole, that is viewed as more than the sum of its individual parts.

In cognitivism theory, learning occurs when the student reorganises information, either by finding new explanations or adapting old ones. This is viewed as a change in knowledge and is stored in the memory rather than just being viewed as a change in behaviour. Cognitive learning theories are mainly attributed to Jean Piaget. Examples of how teachers can include cognitivism in their classroom include linking concepts together, linking concepts to real-world examples, discussions and problem-solving.

Constructivism is based on the premise that we construct learning new ideas based on our own prior knowledge and experiences.

5 Educational Learning Theories

Learning, therefore, is unique to the individual learner. Students adapt their models of understanding either by reflecting on prior theories or resolving misconceptions. Students need to have a prior base of knowledge for constructivist approaches to be effective. As students are constructing their own knowledge base, outcomes cannot always be anticipated, therefore, the teacher should check and challenge misconceptions that may have arisen.

When consistent outcomes are required, a constructivist approach may not be the ideal theory to use.Learning theories are an organized set of principles explaining how individuals acquire, retain, and recall knowledge. By studying and knowing the different learning theories, we can better understand how learning occurs.

educational theories

The principles of the theories can be used as guidelines to help select instructional tools, techniques and strategies that promote learning. New behaviors or changes in behaviors are acquired through associations between stimuli and responses.

Information processing leads to understanding and retention. We construct our own knowledge of the world based on individual experiences.

educational theories

Behaviorism stems from the work of B. Skinner and the concept of operant conditioning.

A Brief Overview of 4 Learning Theories

Behaviorism theorists believe that knowledge exists independently and outside of people. They view the learner as a blank slate who must be provided the experience. Behaviorists believe that learning actually occurs when new behaviors or changes in behaviors are acquired through associations between stimuli and responses. Thus, association leads to a change in behavior. The learning process is based on objectively observable changes in behavior.

Behavior theorists define learning simply as the acquisition of a new behavior or change in behavior. The theory is that learning begins when a cue or stimulus from the environment is presented and the learner reacts to the stimulus with some type of response. Consequences that reinforce the desired behavior are arranged to follow the desired behavior e.

The change in behavior of the learner signifies that learning has occurred. Teachers use Behaviorism when they reward or punish student behaviors.

Examples and applications of behaviorist learning theory:. Unfortunately, Behaviorism instruction does not prepare the learner for problem solving or creative thinking.

The Five Educational Learning Theories

Learners do what they are told and do not take the initiative to change or improve things. The learner is only prepared for recall of basic facts, automatic responses or performing tasks. Types Behavioral Learning. Operant Conditioning. Cognitive information processing is based on the thought process behind the behavior. The theory is based on the idea that humans process the information they receive, rather than merely responding to stimuli i.

Cognitive information processing is used when the learner plays an active role in seeking ways to understand and process information that he or she receives and relate it to what is already known and stored within memory. Cognitive learning theories are credited to Jean Piaget. Cognitive learning theorists believe learning occurs through internal processing of information.

Unlike behaviorism, cognitive information processing is governed by an internal process rather than by external circumstance. Learning involves the reorganization of experiences, either by attaining new insights or changing old ones. Thus, learning is a change in knowledge which is stored in memory, and not just a change in behavior. Examples and applications of cognitive learning theory:. Constructivism is based on the premise that we all construct our own perspective of the world, based on individual experiences and internal knowledge.

Learning is based on how the individual interprets and creates the meaning of his or her experiences. Knowledge is constructed by the learner and since everyone has a different set of experiences and perceptions, learning is unique and different for each person.

Each of us generates our own mental models, which we use to make sense of our experiences.By Saul McLeodpublished Knowledge is constructed, rather than innate, or passively absorbed Constructivism's central idea is that human learning is constructed, that learners build new knowledge upon the foundation of previous learning. This prior knowledge influences what new or modified knowledge an individual will construct from new learning experiences Phillips, Information may be passively received, but understanding cannot be, for it must come from making meaningful connections between prior knowledge, new knowledge, and the processes involved in learning.

Learning is a social activity - it is something we do together, in interaction with each other, rather than an abstract concept Dewey, For example, Vygotskybelieved that community plays a central role in the process of "making meaning. Thus, all teaching and learning is a matter of sharing and negotiating socially constituted knowledge. For example, Vygotsky states cognitive development stems from social interactions from guided learning within the zone of proximal development as children and their partner's co-construct knowledge.

This means that same lesson, teaching or activity may result in different learning by each pupil, as their subjective interpretations differ. This principle appears to contradict the view the knowledge is socially constructed. Foxp. Cultures and their knowledge-base are constantly in a process of change and the knowledge stored by individuals is not a rigid copy of some socially constructed template. In learning a culture, each child changes that culture.

The constructivist theory posits that knowledge can only exist within the human mind, and that it does not have to match any real world reality Driscoll, Learners will be constantly trying to develop their own individual mental model of the real world from their perceptions of that world. As they perceive each new experience, learners will continually update their own mental models to reflect the new information, and will, therefore, construct their own interpretation of reality.

Typically, this continuum is divided into three broad categories: Cognitive constructivism based on the work of Jean Piagetsocial constructivism based on the work of Lev Vygotskyand radical constructivism.

Therefore, learning is relative to their stage of cognitive development. Cognitivist teaching methods aim to assist students in assimilating new information to existing knowledge, and enabling them to make the appropriate modifications to their existing intellectual framework to accommodate that information. According to social constructivism learning is a collaborative process, and knowledge develops from individuals' interactions with their culture and society.

Social constructivism was developed by Lev Vygotskyp. The notion of radical constructivism was developed by Ernst von Glasersfeld and states that all knowledge is constructed rather than perceived through senses. Learners construct new knowledge on the foundations of their existing knowledge.

However, radical constructivism states that the knowledge individuals create tells us nothing about reality, and only helps us to function in your environment.

Thus, knowledge is invented not discovered. Constructivist learning theory underpins a variety of student-centered teaching methods and techniques which contrast with traditional education, whereby knowledge is simply passively transmitted by teachers to students. What is the role of the teacher in a constructivist classroom?

The primary responsibility of the teacher is to create a collaborative problem-solving environment where students become active participants in their own learning. Scaffolding is a key feature of effective teaching, where the adult continually adjusts the level of his or her help in response to the learner's level of performance.Although there are many different approaches to learning, there are three basic types of learning theory: behaviorist, cognitive constructivist, and social constructivist.

This section provides a brief introduction to each type of learning theory. The theories are treated in four parts: a short historical introduction, a discussion of the view of knowledge presupposed by the theory, an account of how the theory treats learning and student motivation, and, finally, an overview of some of the instructional methods promoted by the theory is presented.

Toggle navigation. FAQs About Us. Overview of Learning Theories. Cognitive Constructivism. Social Constructivism. Knowledge systems of cognitive structures are actively constructed by learners based on pre-existing cognitive structures.

Knowledge is constructed within social contexts through interactions with a knowledge community. Passive absorption of a predefined body of knowledge by the learner. Promoted by repetition and positive reinforcement. Active assimilation and accommodation of new information to existing cognitive structures. Discovery by learners is emphasized.

Integration of students into a knowledge community. Collaborative assimilation and accommodation of new information. Intrinsic and extrinsic. Learning goals and motives are determined both by learners and extrinsic rewards provided by the knowledge community. Correct behavioral responses are transmitted by the teacher and absorbed by the students.

Collaborative learning is facilitated and guided by the teacher. Group work is encouraged.Learning is a remarkably complex process that is influenced by a wide variety of factors.

As most parents are probably very much aware, observation can play a critical role in determining how and what children learn. Because learning is so complex, there are many different psychological theories to explain how and why people learn. Bandura's theory moves beyond behavioral theorieswhich suggest that all behaviors are learned through conditioning, and cognitive theories, which take into account psychological influences such as attention and memory.

During the first half of the 20th-century, the behavioral school of psychology became a dominant force. The behaviorists proposed that all learning was a result of direct experience with the environment through the processes of association and reinforcement. For example, children and adults often exhibit learning for things with which they have no direct experience.

Even if you have never swung a baseball bat in your life, you would probably know what to do if someone handed you a bat and told you to try to hit a baseball.

This is because you have seen others perform this action either in person or on television. While the behavioral theories of learning suggested that all learning was the result of associations formed by conditioning, reinforcement, and punishment, Bandura's social learning theory proposed that learning can also occur simply by observing the actions of others.

His theory added a social element, arguing that people can learn new information and behaviors by watching other people. There are three core concepts at the heart of social learning theory. First is the idea that people can learn through observation. Next is the notion that internal mental states are an essential part of this process. Finally, this theory recognizes that just because something has been learned, it does not mean that it will result in a change in behavior.

In one of the best-known experiments in the history of psychology, Bandura demonstrated that children learn and imitate behaviors they have observed in other people. When the children were later allowed to play in a room with the Bobo doll, they began to imitate the aggressive actions they had previously observed.

As you can see, observational learning does not even necessarily require watching another person to engage in an activity. Hearing verbal instructions, such as listening to a podcast, can lead to learning. We can also learn by reading, hearing, or watching the actions of characters in books and films. As you can imagine, it is this type of observational learning that has become a lightning rod for controversy as parents and psychologists debate the impact that pop culture media has on kids.

Many worry that kids can learn bad behaviors such as aggression from violent video games, movies, television programs, and online videos. Just observing someone else's actions is not always enough to lead to learning. Your own mental state and motivation play an important role in determining whether a behavior is learned or not.

Educational Theories

While the behavioral theories of learning suggested that it was external reinforcement that created learning, Bandura realized that reinforcement does not always come from outside sources. While many textbooks place social learning theory with behavioral theories, Bandura himself describes his approach as a 'social cognitive theory. So how do we determine when something has been learned? In many cases, learning can be seen immediately when the new behavior is displayed.

When you teach a child to ride a bicycle, you can quickly determine if learning has occurred by having the child ride his or her bike unassisted. But sometimes we are able to learn things even though that learning might not be immediately obvious. While behaviorists believed that learning led to a permanent change in behavior, observational learning demonstrates that people can learn new information without demonstrating new behaviors.

It is also important to note that not all observed behaviors are effectively learned. Why not? Factors involving both the model and the learner can play a role in whether social learning is successful. Certain requirements and steps must also be followed. Social learning theory can have a number of real-world applications. For example, it can be used to help researchers understand how aggression and violence might be transmitted through observational learning.

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